Local companies big and small raise relief funds for Ukraine crisis

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Companies both big and small are lending a hand to help with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

From a simple bake sale to matching donations contributing hundreds of thousands in relief funds, Action News highlights some of the local efforts to help families in Ukraine and how you can take part.

In celebration of Art hop, for the month of March Scarab Creative Arts will be donating a percentage of its profits to help with relief efforts in Ukraine.

"The gallery is donating 10% of anything that sells in our gift shop to Ukraine and one of our members, Marina is from Ukraine and she is donating 100% of the revenue from her sales," said Maggie Courtis, Owner of Scarab Creative Arts.

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Marina Khylyuk Holladay is one of the artists who works out of the gallery. She has family members in Ukraine who have chosen to fight, along with women and their children who have made it to other countries. Marina is doing all she can from overseas.

"She has friends and family there, her phone will ring during the day and it's someone calling from the border, you know it's close, it's close to her," explained Courtis.

"We know Marina, we know her family, her daughter and her grandchildren, and we hear her talking Ukrainian all the time, so yes, it feels very immediate," said Ani Chamichian, member of Scarab Creative Arts.

Across town, a group of local moms who homeschool their kids is putting on a bake sale in honor of a fellow mom with ties to the war-torn country.

"The mom that I'm friends with, she is from Ukraine and it turns out her family is actually, all of her family, her parents, her siblings, her cousins, everyone, is still in Ukraine right now," said Emy Phillips, resident of Fresno.

Philips says the families are showing their support by hosting a bake sale at Dry Creek Park on Saturday morning. So far, she says the response has been overwhelming.

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"I had a local Ukrainian woman call me, her voice was trembling and she could barely talk, but she just wanted to do something. She wanted to join in and help because she lives here in town and she's just so worried for her family," added Phillips.

In less than two days, the employees and physicians at Kaiser Permanente donated more than $200,000 and their employer stepped up in a big way, matching that.

The combined total of $400,000 is being donated to three nonprofit organizations: Direct Relief, Global Empowerment Mission, and World Central Kitchen.

Kaiser Permanente released a statement reading in part, "This worsening humanitarian crisis merits our immediate response. We ask that you join us with your donations and solidarity for the people in Ukraine. This is a moment and cause that connects us regardless of our background or ethnicity. This is a time for unity, and for us to stand together as an industry and as a nation."

And a reminder that any donation or simple act of kindness is never too small.

"It's not a big deal. 10% of some art sales, it's not a big deal but a lot of small pieces come together and that becomes a lot," said Courtis.

The bake sale is happening on Saturday. It kicks off at 9 am and the art gallery sale will be happening all month long.

Three nonprofits accepting donations: Direct relief, Global Empowerment Mission, and World Central Kitchen.
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